And thus inauspiciously began another September. The month of the loneliness birds. The month of the ultimate crushing blow. The month when sunlight begins to diminish and my frenetic energy fades. Depression invades the crevices of my mind. Colors lose their vibrancy and joy is in scarce reserves. Like Joseph in the Bible, I store up the bounty of happiness reaped in times of plenty for this month, but it never quite seems to sustain me.
I’ve been burning the candle at both ends. Thursday was karaoke followed by a trip to Bushwick, drugs, real talk and bawling over Sylvia Rivera’s speech with a new friend. Friday was the Crown Heights pilgrimage (Franklin Park to Crown Inn to a house party). I ended up on a couch (for the first time in a very long time) reading Playboy magazine while shenanigans abounded. The house was huge. Three stories. The kids whose house it was were St. Ann’s grads who made beaucoup bucks doing some kind of “consulting.”
I immediately flashed back to that kid Corey I slept with only because it was his last day on the continent. He so wanted to be taboo, that St. Ann’s kid. But it was all a bit pedestrian. Nice kid though. Before we got down, or was it in between rounds, we talked about all the economics.
Last night, I did the pilgrimage again. Started at Barboncino, this time with Tyler. Ty is a kid from Flint. I met him last year and I’m glad I did. We could talk for a very long time without getting bored. He told me he likes going to Applebee’s on Sunday. I thought he was being an ironic hipster, but no. It’s a nice respite for him since his job keeps him in basement bars and concert venues most of the time. We talked about the search for “cool” and how people will throw so much money around trying to capture this ephemeral thing, but the money kills the cool. Dee Dee Ramone didn’t wear ripped jeans because it was cool. He did it because he was poor. And now I defy you to walk the LES and not see ripped jeans. I dare you to not see them in Des Moines.
The gross part is seeing the preppies…the Brooks Brothers clad date rapists…who throw their money around the LES, trying to buy “cool.” The best days of their lives are behind them–the salad days when people actually looked up to them–so they try to piggyback off the cache of the same people they bullied back in the day, who now have that inimitable thing that everybody wants. They erect their high rises and charge $3500 in rent and all those people who make a place what it is will be priced out and forced to move to Sheepshead Bay. They kill the cool.
Today I went to Rockaway Beach (and yes, the song is playing in my head) with Maddie and crew. The weather was choice. I had a good time. But my head kept having these very dystopian visions. Good times at the beach pushed out by barbed wire along the shore. Men with guns keeping people out, but also, keeping people in. The sky grey and slightly yellowed. A sun out but no warmth. Lamentations of how we didn’t pay enough attention to before, when things were still possible. Sometimes, I worry that everything I love will disappear. Sometimes, I follow those visions with a prayer for it ending quickly because the thought of living for a long time in a world of desaturated terror keeps me up at night. Not just now…all the way going back to when I was seven.
To counteract the loneliness birds, there is…wait for it…the Israeli. He comes and goes. I haven’t seen him in person in almost a year, but no matter. When he does message me, I try to let it be what it is, instead of hoping it will be what I want. This kid is the hottest thing I ever encountered, and ordered to measure. Lanky and androgynous, creative and metaphysical, sophisticated and well-dressed. A little dangerous. A little obsequious. I mean, in that rich schoolboy way. Like Julian Casablancas of The Strokes fame. But nevertheless a good time.
This is what I mean by storing up the good times. Right now I’m not dating. Not even looking. Not even thinking. But any time I want that effervescent feeling all through my body, I close my eyes and replay that night last June, when he held my hand, and led me to something and someplace I’d never experienced. It makes my heart beat faster this many months later. I’d had good sex. I’d had great sex. Even mind-blowing-see-God-twice-sex. But this was soulful, and its own kind of marvelous.
So bring on September. Let it wash over me. I welcome the challenge. I honor the past and release it. I am not who I was last September. Or many September’s ago when things were very, very bad. I control the narrative. Maybe not what happens to me, but how I choose to engage. I’m not going anywhere. If anything, I’m only getting stronger.